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Healthy Eats: Getting Parents to Share the Cooking

Taking turns making meals with your hubby or partner could be crucial to your children's long-term health.
WebMD the Magazine - Feature

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology last spring found that children whose mothers work full time are 48% more likely to be overweight or obese. That may be because families with mothers in the workforce eat fewer healthy meals and family dinners. If that's true, taking turns with your hubby or partner could be crucial to your children's long-term health.

Different couples will have to divide the cooking chores in different ways, of course. But it's not just about a carefully crafted 50/50 split. It's also about logistics and creating a smooth-running, harmonious household. Think working as a team, not keeping score.

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As with other co-parenting tasks, some women need to learn to let go from time to time. In my experience, men tend to make more elaborate meals and spend more time with their cooking. And they often like to invest in all the latest gadgets. That's fine -- as long as you both agree that nutritious, healthy food is the goal. It's good for kids to see cooking as a pleasurable adventure, not just a chore. And everyone gets some good meals out of the arrangement.

Together, come up with a repertoire of healthy, easy recipes you can put together relatively quickly -- like this one-dish meal even cooking newbies can whip up fast.

Healthy Recipe

One-Dish Dinner: Lemony Chicken With Vegetables and Parmesan

Makes 4 servings


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or boneless, skinless breasts cut into 1-inch strips)

2–3 tbsp fresh garlic, minced

3 cups vegetables of your choice (broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, celery), cut into small pieces (hard veggies like winter squash into 1/2-inch pieces, summer veggies like zucchini in bigger pieces)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

4 leaves fresh basil, chopped, or 1 tbsp fresh thyme

1/4 tsp salt and pepper



1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken, garlic, and vegetables in a baking dish.

2. Drizzle chicken and veggies with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Mix in salt and pepper.

3. Top with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes 

Per serving: 249 calories, 27 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 63 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 447 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 32%.

Reviewed on October 05, 2010

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